UPDATE: ‘This is Huge’: Surprise Jan 6 Hearing Reveals Trump Lunging at Secret Service, Knew About Armed Crowd
The internet exploded late Monday when the January 6 House panel announced a last-minute surprise hearing for Tuesday. Speculation began
The internet exploded late Monday when the January 6 House panel announced a last-minute surprise hearing for Tuesday.
Speculation began running rampant as to what the hearing could be about. After all, Congress was headed home for the mid-summer break, and it takes a lot to get lawmakers to return to work once they've been set free.
As it turns out, testimony from a top White House aide and new evidence has imbued the panel with a sense of urgency – and they may be moving quickly because they want the public to hear about the new information before the witness changes her mind.
UPDATE: 1:37PM EST
Top aide of former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Cassidy Hutchinson made it clear in her testimony that former President Donald Trump knew that people in the crowd were armed when he took the stage and encouraged them to march to the Capitol.
Hutchinson's promised bombshell verifies that the former President knew that violence was a near-possibility, that the police at the Capitol were becoming overwhelmed and told aides to remove the mags scanning for weapons, saying, "They aren't here to hurt me."
Hutchinson, a lifelong Republican, appeared shaken but resolute as she took the stand to rehash the testimony she has given to the Jan 6 panel. At one point she relayed a conversation wherein she was told the former President lunged at the steering wheel and then a secret service agent in his limousine when told he could not join rioters at the Capitol.
UPDATE 2:55PM ET
What was not evident in today's hearing was footage provided by Alex Holder, despite ample predictions. What was included was excoriating detail of a president out of control who was angry and aware – and Trump's former inner circle is paying attention more closely than ever after Hutchinson's words today. Also not evident was the series of conversations between the former President's family as they discussed plans leading up to the election which came to play in January. These conversations and Holder's footage will be shared in subsequent hearings in July.
The hearing closed with Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R – WY) reading statements from anonymous witnesses who were hesitant to testify because they were pressured by the president and/or his inner circle. Tampering with witness testimony is a crime – one which the panel seems now to be adding to their list. Chairman Bennie Thompson implored those witnesses to harness some of Hutchinson's courage and rethink their stance on embracing loyalty over truth.
Hutchinson's testimony was damning, brave and precise and may have opened the floodgate for other witnesses to speak candidly.
Holder and Hutchinson – the Pincer Proof
Over the past two weeks, friends and former colleagues of former President Donald Trump were thrown into doubt and chaos after it was revealed that there are hundreds of hours of footage of the Trump family leading up to January 6 – and most people had no idea it was even being filmed.
British filmmaker and documentarian Alex Holder was granted unprecedented access to Trump, his children and inner circle in the months leading up to January 6, and when it was discovered that he was sitting on a goldmine of evidence, the House panel immediately began pouring through it.
In addition, it's expected that an aide to Mark Meadows, Trump's Chief of Staff, may have new evidence that the panel is eager to get out in the public eye. Cassidy Hutchinson is expected to testify today and what new information she may provide is anyone's guess.
The Guardian explains, "The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack is closely focused on phone calls and conversations among Donald Trump’s children and top aides captured by a documentary film-maker weeks before the 2020 election, say sources familiar with the matter.
… What appears to interest the panel is whether Trump and his children had planned to somehow stop the certification of the election on January 6 – a potential violation of federal law – and to force a contingent election if Trump lost as early as September."
Unfortunately for the Trump family, they're caught between the pincer of Holder's footage and Hutchinson's testimony – and they're worried about what today's hearing may reveal, with experts saying, "this is huge" and promising that it's likely to contain "bombshell" information.
What’s Next for the Hearings
Viewers were not expecting another hearing until July, which is why experts believe only something big would bring the panel back.
AP News reports, "The House panel has not explained why it abruptly scheduled the 1 p.m. hearing as lawmakers are away from Washington on a two-week recess. The committee had said last week that there would be no more hearings until July.
The precise subject of Tuesday's hearing remained unclear, but the panel's announcement Monday said it would be 'to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.' A spokesman for the panel declined to elaborate and Hutchinson's lawyer did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
The person familiar with the committee's plans to call Hutchinson could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity."
What's next for the hearings which will resume after today in July is anyone's guess. But today's hearing may spell out what the Trump family knew and what they conspired to do about the election results ahead of January 6, possibly as early as September 2020 which would put to lie the idea that they acted the way they did because they thought the election was stolen. After all, in September the election hadn't even occurred yet – so showing that they planned to overthrow the election results before they were even in is a level of premeditated conspiracy the Panel has thus far struggled to prove.
It's a nerve-wracking day for the Trump camp who believed they could breathe a sigh of relief until recess ended in July. Ivanka Trump has already faced accusations of a discrepancy over her committee testimony when she said she accepted former Attorney General Bill Barr's assessment that the election was fair – but then was proven to have egged her father on to keep fighting the results. Today's hearing may shed light on who else is saying one thing but did another.